Guns are not toys and as parents, we know to not just leave guns where our children can easily pick them up when we’re not looking.
However, a gun can serve many purpose and teach our children responsibility and discipline which can greatly benefit them later in life.
Here are tips and practices you can share with your child when it comes to handling a gun:
Before you start your car, pack your guns, and head to the woods, remember that kids, no matter how eager they seem, they still develop at different rates. Don’t be discouraged and angry if they can’t understand your lessons immediately. Be patient.
Why Should I Teach My Children About Guns?
While many of us are divided when it comes to owning weapons, owning a gun, regardless if you’ll be using it for hunting or self-defense.
Here are more reasons why you should be teaching your kids about guns:
Demystify The Stigma and Hype About Guns: Guns have been around for a long time yet they are still surrounded by some wrong information even though we can easily look up with our smartphones. Teaching your child about guns will help them understand how guns really work, this also helps them understand that guns are not toys that they can play around with to show off to their friends. Young children, especially our sons, are very impressionable, and they will love to show their kills to their friends. Teach your children that the only time they should pull the trigger is when they want the gun to come off.
Start Small: Don’t scare your child by giving him/her an assault rifle immediately. Start small. A BB gun is a good choice for most children where he/she can practice for a year or two. You can easily bring it with you when you take your child for a hunting trip during the weekends. This will also help your child learn about responsibility because he/she will learn about cleaning and maintaining their weapon. Also, don’t jump into the woods immediately, start your youngster by hunting small game such as squirrels, waterfowls, deers, and many others. Don’t hesitate to let your child take the lead while you observe from behind, giving them advices and lessons from time to time. Once you have determined that your child is ready to move up to bigger and more powerful guns, you can easily help your child transition from one weapon to another.
Lead by Example : As mentioned above, young children are very impressionable. They will follow your every move, from climbing to tree tops or riding your ATV’s, motorcycles, and cars. Lead by example by handling your guns safely. Your child will easily get excited after firing their gun, pointing it directly at you or their feet. Insist of using protection for their eyes and ears and by wearing the proper clothing during the hunt.
But what if I don’t hunt but I still want my child to learn about guns and gun safety?
Guns aren’t exclusive to just hunting, you can still teach your child everything about guns in the safety of a gun range in your local neighborhood. Spending time at the gun range is a great opportunity for learning, at this setting, also in a gun range, your child will learn about the importance of safety when using a gun especially if they will be using it for defense. This will also help your child learn that a gun isn’t a toy and shouldn’t be playing around with it when they are with their friends.
Some gun ranges in other states also offer lessons for children as young as 5 years old to learn about guns (of course, this may depend on you. You can have your child learn about guns as early as 5 or you can have them later in their early teens or teen years.) There isn’t a right or wrong age for children and most people to learn about guns.
Here are some tips on how you can learn and also have a fun time with your child at a gun range:
Never leave your child unsupervised in a shooting range. Yes, there are instructors present here and there, however, especially during peak seasons such as summer, and because of your child’s curiosity (they may or may not have seen some action movies after school and have gotten curious to try a move done by their favorite actor or superhero), they may suddenly pick up the gun and start shooting, this then leads to injury not only to themselves but also to others who are present in the gun range. Another factor on why you shouldn’t leave your child alone in a gun range is because most of the instructors won’t be available to assist you and your child. Being with your child can also help boost their morale or provide them support with their stand or aim.
Learn more about the shooting school and its instructors. Although this may seem redundant, it’s important for you to check that the school or shooting range you will be bringing your child to is properly certified by the right authorities, this means that the gun range is properly equipped and that the instructors know what to do in the event that someone gets injured. Do they know what to do if someone gets shot? Who should they call in the event of an emergency? Do they know first aid? Don’t hesitate to ask questions to the instructors.
Wear the right clothing and equipment. Just like hunting, you and your child are encouraged to wear the right clothing and proper safety equipment when at a gun range. Remember that this is a gun range and not a cat walk. You can’t wear clothing that may interfere with your aim such as wearing clothes with long and loose sleeves or clothes with a V-neck or collar. Wear safety goggles and a safety vest as much as possible even if you’ll just be there to supervise your child. Don’t let your child wear flip flops too. Tell your daughter to tie her hair so that hair strands won’t fly into her line of sight.